(Reuters) - Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi is quickly making up for lost time after suffering successive knee ligament injuries which kept him out of action for the best part of two years.
The Italy forward scored his fourth league goal of the season to help Fiorentina win 2-0 at Atalanta on Sunday, keeping them unbeaten in Serie A after four games.
As much as his goals, Rossi has surprised observers with the way he has regained match fitness following a traumatic two years.
“We are a little amazed by the speed of his recovery, but not by his quality,” Fiorentina’s sporting director Daniele Prade told Sky Sports Italia on Sunday.
“We have helped recover a player who has been sidelined for so long and we want he to be the player he used to be.”
Rossi, 26, was born in the United States to Italian parents and moved to Italy as a 12-year-old where he joined Parma’s youth division.
He then moved to Manchester United, where he made a handful of first team appearances, before having spells on loan at Newcastle United and Parma before finally settling down with Parma.
He also played for Italy at a number of age levels and turned down an invitation to play at senior level for the United States, which earned him some vicious criticism from American fans, preferring instead to try and win a place in Italy’s squad.
His troubles began when he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury to his right knee while player for Villarreal in a Spanish league match against Real Madrid in October 2011.
He fought desperately to be fit again in time Euro 2012 only to re-injure the knee in training during the following April, causing him to miss Euro 2012.
Villarreal sold him to Fiorentina at the start of this year and he finally made his comeback against Pescara in May, playing 27 minutes in the final match of last season.
This season, his form has surpassed expectations and he could soon be in line for an international recall.
”We have always followed Giuseppe Rossi and we will follow him now,“ said Italy coach Cesare Prandelli this week. ”We have been surprised by his consistency and continuity, not by his goals which he has always scored.
“I am very happy for him because I can see he is at ease and as motivated as he’s always been. We are waiting for him.”
Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by John Mehaffey